3 Essential Rotator Cuff Stretches for Throwing Athletes | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

3 Essential Rotator Cuff Stretches for Throwing Athletes

April 8, 2013 | Andrew Sacks

Must See Baseball Videos

If you play an overhead sport like baseball or tennis, you are at an increased risk for a rotator cuff injury. Repetitive high levels of force can wreak havoc on the structure and tissues involved if they aren't properly cared for. (See the 6 Best Rotator Cuff Exercises.)

For optimal shoulder health throughout the season, you should perform rotator cuff stretches to maintain mobility. If your shoulders have a history of being cranky or tight, add these three rotator cuff stretches to your repertoire. Do two to three sets of each stretch on each arm.  (See also Keep Your Rotator Cuff Pain-Free.)

Sleeper Stretch

The sleeper stretch is one of the most popular stretches to improve internal shoulder rotation. When performed correctly, it lengthens the external rotators of the shoulder and relieves tightness in the posterior capsule.

Note: The Sleeper Stretch is not for everyone. You should skip it if you experience pain in the front of your shoulder, or if you are suffering from shoulder impingement.

  • Lie down on your side and place a rolled towel or pillow under your head for support
  • Depress your shoulders down and squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Position your bottom arm to the side and bend your elbow to 90 degrees
  • Push your wrist toward the floor with your top arm; do not apply too much pressure
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
Sleeper Stretch

Side-Lying, Cross-Body Stretch

This stretches the back of the shoulder. The setup is similar to the Sleeper Stretch, making it easy to do the two stretches back-to-back.

  • Follow the same setup as the Sleeper Stretch
  • Grasp your bottom elbow with your top hand and pull it up and across your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
Side Lying Stretch

Standing No Money

Most overhead athletes don't have issues with external rotation, because throwing improves this movement. However, it's important to maintain this during the off-season, or if you have suffered an injury.

Stretching into excessive external rotation is a bad for throwers, since it can create anterior instability. A better idea is the Standing No Money, which only takes your shoulders through an active range of motion. It improves mobility and strengthens your shoulders at the same time.

  • Stand with your back against a wall with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle
  • Engage your core
  • Externally rotate your arms as far as possible and hold for 30 seconds
  • Keep your elbows, head and butt against the wall

 

Andrew Sacks
- Andrew Sacks is a strength and conditioning coach from Baltimore, where he trains athletes at Next Level Sports Performance. He works with youth, high school,...
Andrew Sacks
- Andrew Sacks is a strength and conditioning coach from Baltimore, where he trains athletes at Next Level Sports Performance. He works with youth, high school,...
Must See
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,674,905
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,221,618
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 3,056,420

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 135,407
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 14,586
Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Train the Core While Standing Views: 311,611
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,221,618
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,105
How Greg Nixon Gets More 'Twerk' on the Track
Views: 950,576
Corey White's Off-Season Guide to Making Plays
Views: 1,396,869
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 2,814,024

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How Hockey Goalies Can Get More Flexible for a Better Butterfly

As a hockey goalie, you pride yourself on your positional play. You are right where you need to be to make the first save, but the puck still ends up in...

Flexibility for Cross Country From the Ground Up

Increase Your Flexibility Without Stretching

Green Bay Packers Discover Football's Fountain of Youth

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises Done the Right Way

Go the Distance With This Baseball Yoga Warm-Up

The Yoga Warm-Up for Basketball Players

Pre-Workout Warm-Up Steps You Can't Afford to Skip

3 Yoga Twists to Keep You on the Field and Improve Your Game

Why You Shouldn't Stretch 24 Hours Before a Game

How to Release Muscle Knots and Trigger Points

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises for a Safe, Effective Workout

Add Warrior Poses to Your In-Season Training

Find Your Effective Pregame Basketball Warm-Up

Dig Like a Pro: Exercises for Volleyball Mobility

Best Exercises for Improving Joint Mobility

Reducing Tight Hamstrings without Stretching for Hockey Players

3 Tips To Make Your Stretching Routine More Effective

Stay Pain-Free With These Advanced Stretches

Fundamentals of a Pre-Workout Warm-Up

These 9 Exercises Will Improve Your Hip Mobility

You're Doing It Wrong: The Warm-Up

The Ultimate Pitcher's Warm-Up: 4 Shoulder Exercises with Bands

Mobility Training for Hockey Goalies

3 Exercises That Fix Common Baseball Hip Mobility Issues

The Importance of Recovery Workouts

Patrick Peterson's Yoga Workout

Balance Exercises That Are Game-Changers

Build a More Powerful Golf Swing With These Mobility Drills

Pre-Match Warm-Ups that Will Improve Your Tennis Game

The Most Important Muscle You've Never Heard Of

Improve Your Balance with Stability Ball Exercises

Animal Flow Scorpion Reach for Injury Prevention

Pro Secrets, Revealed: The Perfect Workout Warm-Up

The Best Stretching Exercise for You

How to Fix 4 Common Tight Areas in Your Body

6 Thoracic Spine Exercises to Improve Mobility

Improve Your Squat With 6 At-Home Hip Flexor Mobility Exercises

Why and When You Need to Change Your Pre-Game Warm-Up Routine

Must-Have Additions to Your Baseball Stretching Routine

Are Tight Hips Slowing You Down?